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Regional News

State Health Insurance Sign-Up Extended


Washington's Health Benefit Exchange has extended a special enrollment period for people who are without health insurance.

The period began March 10, but with thousands of people out of work because of the coronavirus (and 187,000 filing for unemployment during the last week), the exchange has decided to extend the emergency enrollment period until May 8.

Exchange spokesman Michael Marchand says about 10,000 have registered for insurance coverage or been added to the Medicaid rolls during the last three weeks. He anticipates many more will need coverage in the next month or so, even if it's temporary.

“We're going to have people moving frequently between employer insurance coming to us, and maybe people leaving our exchange and going back to their employer insurance,” he said.

Marchand says the virus has left fewer people in the exchange call center to answer questions. He advises those interested in enrolling to check the website and look for the navigator or broker contacts for further assistance.